Dec 26 2007

Debate With Hollow-Earth Proponent – Neal Adams: Part 2

Neal Adams writes (quotes are from Steven Novella’s previous post):


Regarding my theories and mainstream scientific acceptance:

I’m not aware of displaying the hostility toward “scientific” criticism. Nor do I need to be told how “science works.” Nor do I wish the approval of the “court of scientific opinion” and finally there is no marginalization beyond the position I found myself in. It’s far better now and I’m sure it will get only better still, so please have no concern for me. I am at a stage, and the stage is surprisingly good. Call it the debate stage.

I “dismiss explanations because they don’t make sense.” Hmmmm. Yes, that’s true. Emphasis on the “don’t make sense.” And I will test that philosophy
with a the opinions of the great minds of history.

“And you support your own alternative because they do make sense.” Again ….YES!

“But making sense is not sufficient to establish that an idea is correct.” NO,….but it is a very, very good starting point and sooner or later “it must make sense, one way or another.”

“You have not established…” ONE….does not “establish”. Einstein did not establish ANYTHING. He postulated a theorum. It was for many others to “establish “!

“…the details necessary to actually disprove the standard models, nor haveyou provided empirical evidence to support your alternatives.”

You are categorically incorrect in this statement and I am shocked that you would have not pre-edited this. You had limited exposure to this theory as you take great pains to explain. What could you possibly know of my postulates and how they prove out? You presume outside of your exposure. You have heard very little. Isn’t that correct?

“If you want scientific acceptance, you will need to do this. That is how Darwin and Einstein convinced the world – evidence.”

NNNNNNOPE, and you know it. They opened a debate , much of which has still not been settled. They offered such evidence as they had, and were told it isn’t enough and not convincing and that is exactly what I am doing.

One other thing, Steven, I don’t need to win. I am seeking the truth, and that is what this is about.

Steve wrote: “Pangea would have shifted Earth’s center of gravity causing it to sink in the ocean. This is not true. Planets are spheres because gravity crushes anything that sticks out too far.”

Steven , You don’t really mean this . You can’t possibly. “Planets are spheres because gravity crushes anything that sticks out TOO FAR.”???? This is a statement that is so unscientific that I’m at a loss to deal with it. Assuming you’re serious please carefully view this page: Show this video to an engineer or a practical practicing physicist. The shift was calculated by me at 4.5 kilometers and 4.0 by the head science editor of a major american newspaper.

“B) Three fourths of the granitic crust is ‘missing’. Not necessarily.”
Yes , Steven ,NECESSARILY! In the common “Pangea Theory” the Atlantic ocean spread … rifting and spliting , straight down about 3 MILES. The whole of the granitic crust, three miles, and some basalt area and it spread apart over time. The reason there is NO CONTENENTAL granitic rock in the Atlantic ocean is that
IT MOVED AWAY, SPREAD, NEW SURFACE. There was continental plate ,…and it moved aside. That New surface never had continental plates. This is true of 3/4’s of the EARTH! Gone ! No meteorite rolled up 3/4’s of the Earth’s crust.

Steve wrote: “Catastrophic and other geological forces could have produced the unevenly of the Earth’s crust.”

Name it. Prove it. Show it! It’s not true. Science says a differentiating molten ball of differentiating silicate rock,… The same world over. Where is 3/4’s of missing 3 miles thick granitic slag? Not mine to prove. Yours!

Steve wrote: “For example, it is now well accepted that the early Earth was hit by a large meteor,”

Since you believe in this science fiction approach to science …..let’s say it’s possible that planets (without proof of any sort ) fly, not in orbit, but willy-nilly through inter-galactic space colliding with the MOST UNIQUE PLANET IN THE UNIVERSE ..A planet that needs a planetary collision to gain a moon. Sssssso how did all the other planets get their moons?????? More collisions????

Let’s say this collision was true,….. Did it happen when the Earth was molten and the Earth simply re -formed into a smaller ball? OR , did it happen when Earth solided up and the planetesmal blasted and gauged a hundreds of miles deep chunk out of the Earth? (thats what it would have taken, you know.) I ask because there is no such crater and if the Earth was molten the crust would have reformed. This analysis is science and engineering and, in my opinion unassailable.

Regarding dinosaurs and other creatures of the time:

The largest flying creatures today are eagles and vultures. Flying dinosaurs – The largest were 4 times the size of these birds and bigger. I think this means
creatures of this size could not exist today and survive. Their wings would snap. If you examine Eagles wings you see that the bones are in reality thick and
surrounded by thick muscle. The outer support is taken by many feathers but not bone. Pterosaurs and others have wings like bats. These wings are supported by only the addaptive finger bones. This is an inferior wing to the feathered wing, subject to the bones snapping. Add that to the creature that is 4 times larger and heavier than our largest bird,and you have an impossible situation. There was a roudy debate in the field of paleoentology in the 70’s but it died down with no conclusion. I bring new facts.

An area that I claim strong expertise in is anatomy, having studied it all my life. Any cursury examination of Allosaurus or his relatives reveals clear ligament attachment areas that indicate signs of the fleet predator. Tendon anchor areas like a racehorse and concave muscle groves show massive foreward launching muscles. The massive stride. The weight distribution favoring the thigh muscles. The evolutionary decline of the forelegs in favor of the massive hind legs is a marvel. All of these pale into insignificance when you consider that the T-rex, for example, was more comfortable running than walking. All this type of dinosaur was streamlined and aerodynamic fore and aft (Tail ,…chest neck and head). This gave the T-rex a traveling gyroscopic motion, like a shark through the air. I estimate his top speed at 60 M.P.H.

A T-rex also had fleet-footed prey, as a result of their long legs,…… fact all dinosaurs were long leggedfor the sake of traveling vast distances and persuit and escape. This was characteristic of all dinosaurs. (Something you won’t read in text books though its totally true.)

Regarding sea levels:

Steve wrote: “The basic answer is that when sea levels are low large amounts of water are locked into vast continental ice sheets. When this ice melts during warmer times, sea levels can rise by hundreds of meters. No mystery.”

This is truly one of the most fantastic science fantasy theories I have heard. There is no theory of rising and falling shallow seas needed to explain ,…..what ,….
the shallow seas? You say the seas rise and fall? Like ? Now? And there is a theory? NO. In the dinosauric eras there were shallow seas, Period! That’s where the fish lived and that’s where the fossils are. ICE SHEETS???? What? there were categorically no Ice sheets. The Earth was tropical or sub-tropical top to bottom. There was no ice, no ice caps, bergs or frozen poles. Dinosaurs populated Alaska and Antarctica. You know what there wasn’t? There wasn’t ice.

“Accepted models of sea level several hundred meters”???? MAGIC????
Think about it. It makes no sense..Where did you get this? It ain’t science, Steven.

Regarding Teracarnasaurus:

Laurasia after it went to the North Pole. In that case, how do you explain that the scientific and specifically the geological community says that Africa joined to South America and Antarctica and they all went to the south Pole to drop Antarticia off and then came back up to join Laurasia which was coming from its trip to the North Pole and they maintained a connection all that 2000miles? Why ? How? Where is it now?

Another question. How come those Geologists and folks on the discovery channel didn’t know about that magical land bridge, when they reported the discovery of the thigh bone in Africa. They think it’s quite a mystery.

Regarding the asthenosphere being molten or solid:

Funny thing about that. What you spoke of as a fact, is a theory. They don’t really know. Through seismic waves they’ve discovered it’s not a liquid, its a solid!
That’s what they KNOW! Taffy? That’s a theory.

I have a theory too. In my theory the rifts are cracking and spreading and new material is filling in and THE CONTINENTS DON’T MOVE AT ALL!

Regarding the length of the day and tidal forces:

Steve wrote: “If you are going to use this to argue for a smaller Earth than you have to address the standard explanation for this: the rotation of the Earth is slowing down because of tidal forces with the moon.”

Actually, no I don’t. If you think the tidal forces brings a drag to Earth ,…..well good. I don’t! You think it’s like the moon is dragging a plow across Earth, slowing it ! I simply think the moon is walking across the Earth – no drag.

Steve wrote: “This is also moving the moon farther away from the Earth. These same forces have already slowed the rotation of the moon so that it is locked with it revolution around the Earth – that is why we always see the same face of the moon. Again, no mystery.”

No I don’t think so.

Regarding measuring the size of the Earth:

It has been measured and calculated by Samuel Warren Carey, and he shows it grows. Do you believe it? If you bought his book and read his evidence, would you believe? IF I told you that the navy discovered a small growth in the 80’s and so they adjusted the instruments to account for the inaccuracy. You buy that? The growth is between 6 and 24 inches a year. Think they can spot it?

Regarding the creation of matter:
I did not say the universe created something from nothing. I put quotes on “nothing” because it is not nothing ! It is something ….that we can’t recognise.

MY JUSTIFICATION IS THAT VERY FACT, THE CONSERVATION OF MATTER SAYS THE TWO CAN NOT BE DESTROYED. It is not I who is bending the law, but Physics , when they say the positron and the electron are annihilated! THAT must be a lie! Moreover, since matter can’t be created ,…when a positron and an electron are spontaneously “created”, they are NOT actually being”CREATED” at all. They were there, unseen………..EVERYWHERE! Waiting.

Steve wrote: “Nothing of the sort has ever been observed in a particle accelerator or elsewhere. You next speculate that your hypothetical primary matter particle could make protons and neturons, again without justification.”

I have total justification. You may not believe it, or believing it , accept it, but I certainly have justification.

Steve wrote: “Also, this ignores the copious evidence from particle physics about the nature of such particles.”

Using phrases like “copious evidence” convinces me of the opposite. If you use this kind of vague phrasiology and follow it with “further” …well …..
Regarding the creation of heavier elements: Earth is copying the process that the sun uses, which is pretty simple. But since I’ve gotten you upset with all the above, and I suspect you won’t listen to reason and ‘well, this part is pretty important……..and its pretty late ………I think we have a hump to get over, don’t you agree?

Steven Novella responds:


Regarding science in general, you defended your argument style relying upon what “makes sense.” The problem is that you do not support “making sense” with detailed scientific argument. It sounds like your judgments are based on aesthetics, or simply because they fit your broader theory. The last few centuries of science has taught us that what superficially makes sense is often wrong, and what at first seems counterintuitive is often correct.Also, you do not proceed carefully, or skeptically, enough. You accept your own alternative theories prematurely, before they are established by evidence, and then proceed from them as if they were a solid premise. The result is that you have developed a very elaborate set of ideas, which may have a certain aesthetic symmetry and cleverness, but ultimately is flimsy and resting upon nothing. It is a fascinating example of what happens when explanatory models are cut off from empirical evidence.

You wrote: “ONE….does not “establish”. Einstein did not establish ANYTHING. He postulated a theorum. It was for many others to “establish “!”

Not correct. Einstein postulated a theorem that potentially resolved existing mysteries within physics, but his theories also made specific predictions. Einstein did not become generally accepted, and famous, until the first of his predictions was validated (the lensing effect of gravity observed during the next solar eclipse). So he certainly helped establish his own theories, and of course once his ideas were shown to have merit many others began to test and use his theories.

Also, Darwin’s Origin of the Species is not just the presentation of an idea – most of the book is a painstakingly detailed presentation of evidence.

It sounds suspiciously like you are trying to shift the burden of proof here. You are the one claiming to have overturned virtually all of modern science. It is not unreasonable to expect a tidbit of evidence.

You wrote: “You are categorically incorrect in this statement and I am shocked that you would have not pre-edited this. You had limited exposure to this theory as you take great pains to explain. What could you possibly know of my postulates and how they prove out? You presume outside of your exposure. You have heard very little. Isn’t that correct?”

I am responding to your specific claims, made in your articles, during the interview on our podcast, and in this exchange.

Regarding gravity making spheres – Perhaps I misunderstood your initial claim about Pangaea “sinking.” It is true that gravity is a force that pulls matter toward its center, and therefore all matter will tend to form a sphere around a center of gravity. Deviations from a sphere must be able to support their weight against the pull of gravity, and this is limited by the strength of the material. So, any deviation that is too large will collapse, and so large planetary bodies form into spheres. Smaller planetoids, like small moons or asteroids, have lower gravity and they can be shapes that deviate significantly from a sphere (like the moons of Mars). My point was that there is no problem with Pangaea maintaining its height above the sea floor. That is a deviation acceptable within Earth’s gravity.

However, your argument is that the oceans would have shifted toward Pangaea, following a shift in the center of gravity. It seems that a flaw in your calculations is that you neglect the fact that the earth is more dense toward the center, so a disproportionate amount of mass contributing to the center of gravity lies in the deeper layers of the Earth. So the center of gravity would not shift by as much as you say.

Regarding the collision theory of the moon – This is now generally accepted by the scientific community, and I gave a link. Your counter about all other moons forming in this way is a straw man. There are various other theories to account for the moons observed in our solar system, the two most important being the capture theory and forming in place. Some moons appear to be capture asteroids, like the two moons of Mars and many of the smaller moons of Jupiter. Some of the outer planets’ moons may have been captured planetoids from the Kuiper belt that strayed too close or that fell into the inner solar system after colliding or interacting with another object. Alternatively, some moons likely formed by accretion where they are. The primary evidence for this is that they share the plane of revolution and direction of spin of their parent planet.

You simply dismiss without justification copious evidence and established geology that could explain the non-uniformity of the Earth’s surface. Once the crust solidified, impacts would create non-uniformity. You ask to name another geological phenomenon that could to this – OK, volcanoes. Volcanoes spew material up out and around them forming large mountains, then islands, then small continents. The early Earth had more volcanic activity – supervolcanoes that could produce enormous lava flows – and build continents.

Once plate tectonics was underway (and I am not sure if it is well understood how it began) some plates (continental plates) floated consistently above other plates (oceanic plates). So when they collide oceanic plates always subduct under continental plates. This would reinforce the discontinuity, as continents could accumulate matter while oceans are always being renewed by subduction.

Regarding flying creatures: First, just for accuracy, the largest flying creature today is the albatross, not eagles and vultures. And pterosaurs were not dinosaurs, they were flying reptiles in their own order separate from dinosaurs.

But again you are assuming that the largest bird alive today is the largest flying creature that could exist today, this assumes birds get as big as they can physically get. However, there are many evolutionary forces influencing size. Physical limits are not the only constraint. It takes a great deal of energy to fly when you are big, and you sacrifice maneuverability. There has to be a significant evolutionary pressure to become big. One thing that drives size is competition, and at various times in the past there were ages of gigantism where through mutual competition and evolutionary pressure many creatures in the ecosystem grew very large. Some pterosaurs (not all, some were very small) grew large probably because their prey was large, or their predators were large.

Regarding dinosaurs: You do not support your assumptions with calculations or evidence. You “estimate” that T-Rex ran 60 mph? Based upon what? Simply citing your own self-proclaimed expertise in anatomy is not enough. I gave you a link to a published study that calculated (not just eye-balling) from tendon attachments that dinosaurs were walking around in 1g (that’s today’s gravity). If true, this nullifies your theory.

The point of scientific methodology is to make careful observations and to use objective measures whenever possible. If we rely upon our own subjective judgments then there is a tendency to be overwhelmed with confirmation bias.

You stated that “all dinosaurs were long-legged.” You mean, like ankylosaurus, triceratops, and stegosaurus?

Regarding your dismissal of ice sheets: Again, you dismiss an entire scientific discipline without justification. Simply labeling something as science fiction is not sufficient. You also missed the point. There were no ice sheets during the warm periods of the dinosaurs – that’s right – that is why the sea level was higher and why the continents had shallow seas. Now there are ice sheets (over Greenland and Antarctica mainly), so sea levels are lower (some of the water that was in the oceans is now sequestered in these continental ice sheets) and the lower sea level means no continental seas, and the shorelines have moved out further also. There is copious geological evidence for this if you just look.

There are fish fossils on mountains because mountains were once under the sea and have been pushed up by tectonic forces. There are few fish fossils under the sea because subduction turns over the sea floor over time. So the fossil evidence is perfectly consistent with prevailing geological theories, and therefore you cannot use the fossil evidence to counter those theories.

Regarding Pangaea: I simply do not know where you are getting your facts from. Here is a link ( to a mapping of the break up of Pangaea and it does not resemble anything you are talking about The “magical” land bridge was between what is now Spain and northern Africa. Again, this is solidly supported by geological evidence.

Regarding continents moving and the asthenosphere: Your dismissal of this as only a “theory” is reminiscent of other critics of accepted science with which we are very familiar. It’s not just a guess, we know from multiple lines of evidence that the Earth gets hotter as you get deeper. We have good models that can infer the temperature of the asthenosphere. We also know that rock at that temperature will be soft. Your use of “solid” and “liquid” when referring to rocks is a false dichotomy. Lava is a solid, but it can flow because it is soft. When it is very hot it is almost a liquid, and it cools it gets more and more viscous, until it completely solidifies. So the real question is can the asthenosphere flow at all – and the answer must be yes given the temperature at that depth.

You also claim that the continents do not move. However, we can actually see and measure the movement of the tectonic plates. A quick search found many links to evidence of this, here is one ( Here is an excerpt: “Current plate movement can be tracked directly by means of ground-based or space-based geodetic measurements…”

While we are talking about direct observation, undersea cameras have also filmed subduction zones. It’s hard to dismiss something you can see directly.

Tidal forces: You dismiss the well established theory that tidal forces are slowing the Earth and moving the moon farther away with a simple, “No, I don’t think so.” Justification?…none. I refer you to any credible textbook or website on the issue.

Size of the Earth: You are cherry picking evidence (apparently – you have yet to give me a reference so I don’t know where you are picking your evidence from). You have to look at all the evidence. First, Carey’s measurements were based upon one technique, not the most accurate technique, and the potential errors in the measurements he was relying upon (all scientific data has error bars) includes zero growth for the Earth. ( Also, there are now several very accurate methods to measure the earth, getting down to millimeter accuracy (, and these methods have not detected the phenomenal growth rate you claim and your theories demand. So direct observation, once again, disproves your theories.

Production of matter: There is no avoiding the fact that we are getting into the difficult and strange area of quantum mechanics here. But what is clear is that no net mass, charge, momentum, or anything is coming from anywhere. Numerous and ongoing experiments in this area are all consistent on the fact that the net result of such paired particle creation is nothing. They have opposite everything and they simply cancel each other out. They do not and cannot join to form a matter particle. To claim this is to discount all of modern physics. Again – with what justification?

Also, look at it this way (and this is also clearly experimentally established). Energy can be converted to matter and matter to energy. The electron-positron creation is a result of energy (gamma rays colliding), and then when they come back together they “annihilate” each other (that is the technical term) and they produce large amounts of energy – the same amount that went into their creation ( So conservation of energy/matter is being obeyed. All those physicists did not simply miss the fact – as you astoundingly claim – that the standard model of particle physics violates the conservation laws. The matter/anti-matter is being converted back into energy.

Formation of heavier elements: You wrote: “Earth is copying the process that the sun uses, which is pretty simple. But since I’ve gotten you upset with all the above, and I suspect you wont listen to reason and ‘well , this part is pretty important……..and its pretty late ………I think we have a hump to get over, don’t you agree?”

The Earth cannot simply “copy” the process of the sun. The interior of the sun has tremendous heat and pressure, which is necessary to force hydrogen nuclei to fuse together to form hydrogen. Those temperatures and pressures are not present in the Earth. And, this process generates tremendous energy (it is literally a hydrogen bomb exploding). So how come the Earth is not constantly exploding with hydrogen bombs like the sun?

I await a more cogent response on the above, and also on your problems with gravity I brought up in the first post.


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